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Allowing patient records to be shared could save lives, say Suffolk health officials

PUBLISHED: 13:04 26 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:04 26 February 2018

Allowing your patient recpord to be shared could help in an emergency situation. Picture: THOMAS CHAPMAN

Allowing your patient recpord to be shared could help in an emergency situation. Picture: THOMAS CHAPMAN

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A hard-hitting campaign has been launched in Suffolk to encourage people to give consent for their patient records to be made accessible to health and care professionals in the event of an emergency.

People are being encouraged to share their patient records for emergencies. Graphic: NHS SUFFOLK People are being encouraged to share their patient records for emergencies. Graphic: NHS SUFFOLK

The campaign will see adverts bearing the words ‘Your NHS needs you to share your health record – it could save your life’ – appear on digital bus shelter, petrol forecourt and supermarket displays across the county.

Health officials say that in an emergency situation it is likely the doctor, paramedic or nurse will only have access to basic health information.

But if a person has consented to share their patient record every health professional called upon to treat them will be able to access to more details about their health.

Not only will this allow them to deliver the most effective treatment, it could mean the difference between life and death. The health professional will always ask permission before looking at the record, except in an emergency.

Saxmundham GP Dr John Oates. Picture: PAGEPIX Saxmundham GP Dr John Oates. Picture: PAGEPIX

Dr John Oates, a GP in Saxmundham and member of the clinical executive of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “CCG staff discussed the sharing of health records with hundreds of visitors to last year’s Suffolk Show and the vast majority of them had wrongly assumed that health care professionals already have access to patient health records.

“This campaign is a really good initiative to help people understand that record sharing does not happen automatically. If you are being treated in an emergency or out-of-hours setting, and haven’t agreed to share your record, the health professionals who are treating you will only see a very basic snapshot of your health record.

“I would encourage people to consider the consequences if they were unconscious or unable to communicate with those health professionals treating them. It could prevent you from receiving the most appropriate treatment and adversely affect your recovery.

“It only takes a few minutes to complete the form. Please do so. It could save your life.”

To agree to share your patient record you just need inform staff at your local surgery that’s what you want to do. Alternatively, there’s a form you can fill in, sign and return to your GP practice which can be downloaded here.

The campaign has been launched by the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups (the CCGs).

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